An explosion of flavor, this delicious Seafood Pasta with Garlic and White Wine Sauce recipe is perfect for family dinners and special occasions. The light, fresh flavors of the sauce are a great pairing with seared scallops and shrimp.
This easy and impressive recipe calls for a combination of shrimp and sea scallops, but it's just as delicious with clams, lobster or mussels. The sauce is reminiscent of a traditional Italian clam sauce - or pasta alle vongole - which is one of my favorite Italian dishes!
The white wine garlic sauce is light, refreshing and deeply savory. So feel free to choose your own seafood adventure for this superstar white wine butter sauce.
Let the party begin!
What you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step instructions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Pasta: the recipe calls for spaghetti, but use whatever you have in your pantry or whichever type of pasta speaks to you when you stroll through the pasta aisle. I do prefer long pasta (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguini, bucatini) for this preparation. If choosing angel hair pasta, be cautious about overcooking!
Sea scallops: scallops and shrimp are a delicious combination, but feel free to substitute bay scallops, skip the scallops and use all shrimp, or use your favorite alternate seafood type.
Shrimp: generally I like to keep my scallops and shrimp roughly the same size, so if you're serving large sea scallops, grab large shrimp. Or whatever size shrimp is on sale this week!
Full measurements and directions included in the printable recipe card below.
Looking for more delicious pasta? Try these next!
How to make this dish:
1. Prep pasta
Prepare your pasta by cooking in well salted water for about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
2. Cook seafood
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Ensure scallops are dry and the side muscle has been removed. Season both sides with salt and a little pepper.
When the pan is hot, add sea scallops in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Don’t touch the scallops for about 3 minutes, allowing them to sear well and brown.
The scallops will be cooked about 75% of the way through before you turn them. Flip and cook another 90 seconds, until cooked through. Remove them to a plate and tent with foil.
To the same pan add raw shrimp, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until pink and cooked through. Remove to the same plate as the scallops and leave tented with foil.
3. Prep white wine sauce
To the same pan, add a tablespoon of butter, along with finely diced shallots, garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Add white wine to the skillet and bring to a simmer, cooking long enough to reduce by about half (3-4 minutes). Once reduced, add ½ cup of the salted pasta water to the wine sauce, along with 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley and the lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Tying it all together
Toss your al dente pasta into the wine sauce and turn the noodles to coat them thoroughly in the white wine garlic sauce.
Add more pasta water and salt, if needed. Top with scallops and shrimp and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Absolutely! It can be tough to find fresh scallops, and I always keep frozen shrimp on hand for quick seafood dishes. I thaw both in the refrigerator overnight, then dry them very well with a paper towel before cooking. For scallops in particular, it's important that the meat is really dry to ensure you can get a good sear.
Some people have very strong feelings about cheese and seafood. I'm not one of those people. I have served it both ways (with and without parmesan) and loved them both. The sauce is super flavorful without cheese, but if you can't resist the siren song of sharp Parm, go with God.
I recommend cooking seafood dishes like this pasta with a dry wine with lower acidity, like a chardonnay. Pinot Grigio also works, although it adds more acidity. If you prefer cooking without alcohol, substitute broth along with an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
To store, transfer pasta to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat leftovers, warm gently over medium-low heat along with a few tablespoons of broth or water. Remove from the heat and serve as soon as the seafood is heated through.